I’d heard squatting in particular was great to get your body ready for delivery. I was already a devoted gym squatter prior to getting pregnant, so I just kept right on. Likewise, I love to Kegel, as I believe exercising the pelvic floor muscles is important to help prevent incontinence and even gives you better orgasms. During pregnancy, I did them because I believed it would help make my labor and delivery a little easier. Doctors said this was totally safe, largely because it was everything I had been doing before I got pregnant. In fact, many docs believe that staying fit contributes to shorter labor. In my case, it wasn't just a shorter labor; kegels made for a dream birth.
“What was your labor like?” a friend recently asked me at a party. “Well," I said, "the nurse didn’t even record one push, can you believe that?” I quickly felt a hardened stare from another friend who was intently listening. She piped up, “I was in the hospital for eight days. They had to do a blood transfusion, I had lost so much blood. It was horrible.” While it’s no doubt that every woman’s labor experience is about as unique as their DNA, it doesn’t make it any easier being that mom that everyone hates.
Two children and I was war-story free. I essentially skated through two pregnancies sans morning-sickness. My first daughter was born right on her due date via vaginal delivery. It took six hours, from start to finish. My water broke, just like in the movies. It was wholly, for lack of a better word, unremarkable. My doctor exclaimed, “You need to have more kids. You are built for this!” I truly LOVED being pregnant. I didn’t even mind the changes to my body. I gained just 25 pounds.
Fast forward a few years, and I was pregnant again. This time, in my late thirties. NBD, I was in shape, and a lot less nervous than the first time around. I knew the drill.
So again, I worked out. I worked out five days a week, right up until the day I was scheduled to give birth. I did a mixture of weight training and cardio, and me and my big ol’ pregnant belly squatted with a 50-pound barbell on my back every single workout.
What else did I do to prepare?
Sex. Dad, here is where you stop reading. Everyone else, yes, have lots of sex. Not only are orgasms great for the mind, body and relationship, they are great for relieving stress and helping you relax — things that are important in prepping your body to pop out that baby, and keeping you calm. Sex can be a great distraction from all the aches and pains, and discomfort that you can encounter in the third trimester — and gives you a further Kegel-y workout! And you can enjoy many positions, as long as it doesn’t hurt you (and don’t worry, it won’t hurt the baby, either!)
And then of course there were the aforementioned Kegels. Hell, I’m doing them right now, and no one is the wiser. The contracting and release of your pelvic floor muscles is a great exercise to do during pregnancy, and after. Those muscles support your uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. I didn’t have any of that pee-when-I-sneeze stuff happening post-birth, like many of my friends did, and I attribute that to my affinity for Kegel exercises. Try to do three sets of 10 reps per day.
I remember that they told me it was 'time,' and the nurse held up my left leg, while my partner held up the right.
Following my patented, self-invented regime, my second child, a son, was induced one-week early as I was on blood thinners due to a previous pulmonary embolism (blood clot in my lung). It was the same song and dance as my first child. I was admitted around 7 a.m., and he entered the world approximately six hours later. Except this time, I didn’t even have to push. I remember that they told me it was “time,” and the nurse held up my left leg, while my partner held up the right. As I begun to push with all my might, they both promptly dropped my legs and I was told frantically to stop pushing. Apparently I was losing some blood, which was cause for concern. Oh, and also, he was already out.
Luckily, the blood stopped flowing so there wasn’t a need for a transfusion. And my healthy bouncing baby boy was born, and I sat there in awe. With all the horror stories, how could this be so darn easy? I was grateful, to say the least. I have some theories though, and they revolve mostly around the “old wives’ tales” I used to create a Kegel-heavy pre-birth plan.
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